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Are the first dahlia flowers smaller and less proportionate?

Posted by HighlanderNorth Mid Atlantic (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 3, 11 at 23:14

My 2nd dahlia is finally fully opening today, as my 1st very early planted dahlia opened a month ago.

My 1st dahlia ended up being mislabeled, and looked nothing like it did on the box. It was supposed to be Rembrandt, and its colors pink and yellow, but its really dark red/burgundy with no yellow. I bought it and 2 others from a local store. But its first 2 flowers were like 3", then everything after has been about 1.5" - 2", and ugly!

But my 2nd one bought from Swan Island opened almost fully today, and it's obviously the right color, and I suppose its the right dahlia(Mcallister's Pride), but its petals are mostly flat, even though its supposed to be a semi cactus variety, and it is barely 3" when its supposed to be 5". Its also not very proportionate, as some outer petals stick out further than others.

They are ALL growing in great soil, with mostly organic ingredients and cow manure, etc., and the PH is between 6.5 - 6.9, and they get watered as needed, usually every 1-2 days when hot and not raining, as the soil is quickly dried out. They get about 8 hours of mid day and afternoon sun. I planted them in holes dug 10" wide x 10-12" deep, as I saw recommended, with the original clay soil thrown out.

So, should the flowers improve with time? Whats your experience?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are the first dahlia flowers smaller and less proportionate?

It seems like it's pretty common to have mis-labled dahlias from the garden centers or big box stores. Swan Island is more reputable and will probably never have that problem.
The size and shape of your dahlias will depend on a lot of factors (weather, soil, and how you are 'grooming' your plant). In terms of grooming - be sure to top and disbud your plant. That means, do not allow the side buds to bloom on a lateral(or branch) - only the center bud. Generally, the lower laterals produce larger blooms than the upper laterals. The upper ones are usually the ones that bloom first; so sometimes I'll get bigger blooms later in the year once the lower laterals start to bloom. I 'disbranch' many laterals in order to focus the plants energy. With the larger AA or A dahliad, I'll only allow 3-4 laterals to grow initially so that the plant's energy is focused on producing those blooms. B's - 4-6 laterals, BB's etc - 8-10 laterals. A much better explanation of some of the grooming can be found in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Topping Dahlias


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